Claim: Woman takes revenge on her cheating husband by advertising his infidelities on a billboard.
[Collected via e-mail, June 2006]
I got this from a friend with the subject line “Billboard at 54th and 2nd in N.Y. City” Is this true? If so, I would sure hate to be Steven!
[Collected via e-mail, March 2013]
Here’s a new love revenge rumor to follow in the news today: the
wife’s billboard revenge in Greensboro, North Carolina. The message reads,
GPS Tracker – $250, Nikon Camera with zoom lens – $1600, Catching my LYING
HUSBAND and buying this billboard with our investment account – Priceless.
Tell Jessica you’re moving in!
Origins: At the end of
her husband (Steven, a financial consultant), frustrations she experienced in pilates class, her husband’s slow climb up the corporate ladder, and (after prompting by her sister) a discussion of her declining sex life.
The blog then took a sudden left turn when Emily’s brother convinced her to hire a private investigator (PI) to “spy” on her husband — a suggestion which Emily promptly accepted, implemented, and concluded in short order, finding out in the process (Quelle surprise!) that her husband was carrying on an expensive affair with her best friend, Laura. Emily spent the next few weeks venting her anger at her lying, cheating husband in her blog, including divulging information about various revenge schemes she had enacted to get back at Steven, starting with the billboard pictured above:
This photo is what I’ve been talking about, the favors that I called in for. Brilliant, isn’t it? I think so. I ran out early this morning to beat the rush hour traffic (didn’t quite go as planned but at least it wasn’t standstill) and got a picture of my billboard. My way to tell the world about the lowlife I’ve just wasted so many years on.
I put it near Steven’s office so his co-workers and friends could see exactly what a cheating scumbag he is. And of course, for all of you to see as well. I’ve decided to do what so many quiet, back-stabbed wives don’t — take charge, make my whoring, cheating, adulterous, fornicating husband know what it feels like to be humiliated. And do it with many decibels.
It’s a personal message for everyone to read. Thanks goes out to my husband who chipped in on the price tag. Golly gee honey, I would’ve never been able to tell the world about your exploits with my best friend without your contribution! Gotta love joint bank accounts. Oh, sorry Steve, I had to splurge on the lights, too. Some people work late, like you. And they’re always driving home when it’s dark. Burning that midnight oil,
So for the next two weeks, starting with today, I will exact revenge on my whoring husband. And who knows what a disparaged woman with lots of resources at her disposal might do?!
Many readers who had been following “Emily”‘s blog already suspected that something wasn’t quite on the level, and their suspicions were confirmed when billboards with text identical to the one pictured above (“Hi Steven, Do I have your attention now? I know all about her, you dirty, sneaky, immoral, unfaithful, poorly endowed slimeball. Everything’s caught on tape. Your [soon-to-be-ex] Wife, Emily.”) popped up not only in
The billboard created interest, and not just from an unfaithful Steven. A booking agent from “Good Morning America” sent an
But when pictures of the billboard proliferated on blogs, readers quickly dug in. One fact soon emerged, thanks to camera phone pictures: the billboard was identical to others in Brooklyn,
Another “source” sent an e-mail suggesting that
The bad news for viral marketers who use these kind of devices: executives at
“Emily is really an amalgam of all of us who have been cheated on,” said Marc Juris, general manager for programming and marketing at Court TV. “Clearly, this really resonated with people.”
The “Emily” ruse was originally intended to be a stunt to help promote the start of the show’s new season on
Mr. Juris was still marveling: “It’s like a flash investigation took place, and within
A similar billboard was spotted in Greensboro, North Carolina, in March 2013, this one supposedly bearing a message from a scorned woman named Jennifer, whose unfaithful partner, Michael, was carrying on an affair with a woman named Jessica. The text of the billboard echoed MasterCard’s classic “Priceless” campaign, listing items (e.g., a GPS tracker, a Nikon camera) Jessica had purchased to expose Michael’s cheating ways and stating that she had used the couple’s investment account to fund putting up the shaming sign. Local news accounts identified this billboard as another advertising gimmick, in this case for a Greensboro yogurt and coffee shop:
What is known is that the billboard is owned by Outdoor Signage, a local company whose phone number connects to the offices of Kotis Properties.
Kotis also owns a yogurt and coffee shop — Yo Daddy Dessert Bar — on Westover Terrace, the name of which was [later] featured on the billboard.
“Jessica — Meet me at Yodaddy’s at 7:00 p.m. for some wine therapy.
Debbie Hill, vice president of Triad Outdoor Advertising (which is not affiliated with the sign), said she has never known of anyone locally buying a billboard for a revenge message. She added that personalized messages are rare in the business.
“It’s usually way too expensive,” she said.
In January 2010, YaVaughnie Wilkins put up a series of billboards in New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta after learning that the married man with whom she had been carrying on an affair for over eight years,
The billboards did include a URL for a (no longer active) web site, charlesphillipsandyavaughniewilkins.com, which featured numerous photographs and other mementos documenting the multi-year relationship between Wilkins and Phillips. The attendant publicity forced Phillips, who at the time was the president of Oracle Corporation and a member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, to publicly acknowledge the affair. (YaVaughnie Wilkins’ experience was also chronicled in the documentary film The Glamorous Lie.)
Last updated: 26 May 2015
Berg, Emmett et al. “Jilted Mistress Proclaims Love for Exec Ex with Billboard.” New York Post. 22 January 2010. Bosman, Julie. “Public Hath No Fury, Even When Deceived.” The New York Times. 24 July 2006 (p. C6). Gardner, David. “Revenge by Billboard.” Daily Mail. 23 Janaury 2010. Tucker, Chad. “Wife’s ‘Billboard Revenge’ a Clever Marketing Ploy by Restaurant Company.” WGHP-TV [Greensboro]. 20 March 2013. [Greensboro] News & Record. “Greensboro Billboard Draws Attention.” 22 March 2013.